What is WordPress?
WordPress is a platform that helps one publish what one wants to publish, online. It was originally used for blogs, but now widely used for websites because it is a much cheaper way to enable the client to update themselves, as opposed to a bespoke CMS (content management system) website.
Using WordPress you can have a website, log in to a back end area and easily update text, photographs, calender’s and more.
There are two types of WordPress platforms available to you. Understanding which is which, what their differences are and the advantages of each is explained here.
WordPress.com is the “free” WordPress platform. This .com version is fully hosted by WordPress, on their servers, for free. It installs for you, you just log in and you are ready to go. This is the reason everyone thinks designing websites is easy!
The WordPress.org version is the bigger brother. YOU buy hosting and install WordPress on your server.
Why use WordPress.org if WordPress.com is FREE?!
As an SME or startup business it might feel like you are saving some money and some effort by going ahead and signing up on WordPress.com (the free one you remember – it does get confusing).
WordPress.com provides everything you need, doesn’t it?:
- A number of themes to choose from
- Automatically upgraded by WordPress themselves
- The ability to update your site any time you want
- You can buy a web site address and point it at your WordPress.com site
- You don’t need anyone to install on your server for you. Easy, you say!
Why should an SME choose WordPress.org?
Despite the easy steps listed above, I would still advise businesses to go straight to WordPress.org. Of course, I earn money from that, it is my job but that is not WHY I am telling you to go down that route.
If you are starting up a personal blog, if you are a beginner blogger or just using WordPress as a journal then go with WordPress.com.
Here is why I advise small businesses start BIG…
The downside to WordPress.com (the “free” one)
Until you’ve used it you will not realise the limitations of WordPress.com. You will definitely come across frustrations in trying to get your site to look and function the way you want it to.
The limitations of WordPress.com :
- Limited customisation to themes (the design of the site)
- Pay to customise the css
- Themes will always have their ‘stamp’ on them, they cannot be removed
- Pay to remove third party adverts (annual fee of $30)
- Limited plugins – meaning you cannot utilise the power of WordPress
- Web address is unprofessional eg. kaydee.wordpress.com. (Nb You can buy a domain and redirect it to your wordpress site)
- Will not allow you to put adverts on the blog/site – this means you can never monetise the site
With both WordPress.com and WordPress.org you can get free themes, as well as paid for themes. But with WordPress.org if you have the knowledge you have the power to move just about anything.
By the time you’ve paid for no adverts, extra plugins, CSS upgrades and the like you may as well of started for WordPress.org in the first place.
WordPress.com does all your paid for upgrades. WordPress.org has to be manually upgraded. But it takes minutes. I do it without you even knowing.
The switch over from WordPress.com to self hosted WordPress.org
Here’s the biggy: When you decide to do the switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org (which you will, oh yes) you WILL LOSE your hard earned ranks on Google search pages.
You can pay WordPress to redirect your old WordPress.com site to your new, self hosted site. But they won’t redirect the traffic from each individual page, to the relevant page on the new site. It will just be a site redirect, meaning that any page that was ranked highly will now simply switch over to your the home page of your new site.
Google will see that as less valuable and will have to recrawl your site to find out where the juicy, popular pages are to rank them again. All those clicks you had, all that traffic you worked hard to get via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.. gone, I’m afraid. Plus all those links that are currently ON your social media pages are worthless.
If you are a professional on WordPress.com my advice is to switch over sooner rather than later. You can switch over at any time, and can take all your blog posts/pages over with you as long as you do it properly.
Please do contact me for help.